Michelle Wie, tees off on the 4th hole, during first day action of the 70th US Women's Open at Lancaster Country Club Thursday July 9, 2015. (Photo/Chris Knight)

Defending champ Wie in in good spot to start final day

Posted: July 12, 2015 12:33 am

Michelle Wie wasn’t terribly sure what to expect before teeing it up in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at the Lancaster Country Club.

The defending champion has been dealing with hip and ankle injuries all season. On top of that, she made some swing changes that made climbing any leaderboard difficult.

But she was encouraged with her play at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship two weeks ago, even though she wasn’t really rewarded by a low number. She shot 70-71 and missed the cut.

Yet she felt more comfortable and healthier there.

She battled some hip issues Saturday but finished with her second consecutive 2-under-par 68 and is 2-under for the tournament heading into Sunday’s final round. She’s scored two rounds in the 60s for only the second time this year has a chance to make it three.

And two rounds in the 60s in the U.S. Open is more commendable than doing the same in some LPGA events.

A large gallery followed Wie’s round Saturday and saw her make six birdies.

“I think my expectations were just I was going to play as hard as I can try to make as many birdies as I can,” she said. “And right now, I’m just really happy that I’m in a good spot. I just want to see what I can do (Sunday).”

Wie pointed to her short irons as one of her strengths Saturday. It was just another part of her game that feels like it’s coming together.

“I just want to keep the good feelings going and keep improving on them, gaining confidence in my good shots and learning from the bad ones,” she said.

Wie kept an eye on the leaderboard throughout her round Saturday, making sure the tournament’s leaders did get too far from her score.

“I’m grateful that I have an opportunity, I have a chance,” she said. “So I’m going to try to do as much as I can with it.”